The Link by Colin Tudge
Uncovering Our Earliest Ancestor

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Synopsis

For more than a century, scientists have raced to unravel the human family tree and have grappled with its complications. Now, with an astonishing new discovery, everything we thought we knew about primate origins could change. Lying inside a high-security vault, deep within the heart of one of the world's leading natural history museums, is the scientific find of a lifetime - a perfectly fossilized early primate, older than the previously most famous primate fossil, Lucy, by forty-four million years.

 A secret until now, the fossil - "Ida" to the researchers who have painstakingly verified her provenance - is the most complete primate fossil ever found. Forty-seven million years old, Ida rewrites what we've assumed about the earliest primate origins. Her completeness is unparalleled - so much of what we understand about evolution comes from partial fossils and even single bones, but Ida's fossilization offers much more than that, from a haunting "skin shadow" to her stomach contents. And, remarkably, knowledge of her discovery and existence almost never saw the light of day.

 With exclusive access to the first scientists to study her, the award-winning science writer Colin Tudge tells the history of Ida and her place in the world. A magnificent, cutting-edge scientific detective story followed her discovery, and The Link offers a wide-ranging investigation into Ida and our earliest origins. At the same time, it opens a stunningly evocative window into our past and changes what we know about primate evolution and, ultimately, our own.
 

About Colin Tudge

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COLIN TUDGE is a biologist by education and a writer by inclination- on biology, food and agriculture, and the philosophy of science. His books include The Tree, Feeding People Is Easy, Consider the Birds, and The Time Before History. For more information about the author, go to www.colintudge.com.
 
Published May 20, 2009 by Little, Brown and Company. 272 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Nature & Wildlife, Professional & Technical, Science & Math. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Link

The Washington Post

In 2006, paleontologist Jorn Hurum, of the University of Oslo's Natural History Museum, was shown the remains of a small, (22 inches) juvenile female primate from the oil shales of the Messel Pit, near Frankfurt, Germany, one of Europe's most famous fossil beds.

Jun 28 2009 | Read Full Review of The Link: Uncovering Our Earl...

The Telegraph

Even if the claims made about Ida turn out to be true, the story of a creature so far down the primate family tree is never going to be as exciting as a fossil that looks like we do, from the past couple of million years.

Jun 05 2009 | Read Full Review of The Link: Uncovering Our Earl...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

And on this issue the press release -- and the six authors of the scientific paper describing Ida -- didn't pull any punches, touting Ida as the "missing link to all humans," the "eighth wonder of the world," the "Mona Lisa" of fossils, "the Holy Grail for paleontologists," and even "a revolution...

Jul 31 2009 | Read Full Review of The Link: Uncovering Our Earl...

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